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The Maritime Aquarium celebrates the establishment of the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), designated today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Connecticut.
Consisting of 52,000 acres of upland waters, tidal basins, salt marshes, and coastal waters in southeastern Connecticut, the newly established reserve represents the first Marine Protected Area of Long Island Sound, and the first within Connecticut state waters. Designated under the Coastal Zone Management Act, the NERR represents a collaborative partnership among the federal and state governments and the private sector, with the University of Connecticut serving as the lead management agency for the NERR. Before this designation, Connecticut was one of only two coastal marine states in the nation that did not have a NERR.
“The Maritime Aquarium applauds today’s announcement by NOAA and the State of Connecticut,” said President and CEO Jason Patlis. “This is the first Marine Protected Area in Long Island Sound, and in the waters of Connecticut, and sets a strong precedent for future conservation efforts within Long Island Sound. The NERR not only provides protections to the fragile coastal ecosystem within its boundaries, but it also serves as a living laboratory for research that will advance our understanding of coastal and river systems and management practices affecting these systems, in order to better protect all of Long Island Sound. With the impacts we are seeing from climate change, it is more important than ever to prioritize both research and conservation efforts within Long Island Sound, which is recognized by Congress as an Estuary of National Significance. The Connecticut NERR will play a key role in these efforts going forward.”
The Maritime Aquarium has long supported the establishment of the Connecticut NERR, hosting workshops and stakeholder meetings during the consultation process, while also formally endorsing the designation at state and federal levels with public comments submitted to both the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
We look forward to supporting the activities and goals of the Connecticut NERR through our education and research programs.
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